This lovely piece of writing is from my friend Beverly Levine:
We leap up and spread our arms like graceful wings. Our aging bodies are agile, light. We are in a swimming pool. Here, with the clear water to hold us up, gravity is forgotten, and we soar. We are mermaid ballet dancers, full of grace and beauty.
We love the exercise at the spa, but conversation is the best part. This morning, Dorothy’s usually serene face is drawn.
“I’m worried about my chicken.” Dorothy hops on one foot and then the other, her hands waving back and forth in the water like seaweed. The mermaids around her stop leaping. Dorothy has several Bantam chickens in her back yard. She also has a pond full of koi.
“The chicken fell in the pond,” she says, “and it wasn’t breathing.”
“Oh, gosh! What did you do?”
“I gave it artificial respiration.”
Imagination fails. “How?”
“Well, I put it on its back, and pushed on its chest, and blew in its mouth.”
“Blew in its beak?”
“Yes. I just held it open a little and blew in.”
We gently wave our arms, trying to decide whether or not to laugh at the mental picture of Dorothy, with her elegant blonde hair and sweet mouth, blowing into the beak of a chicken. But first, we need to know the poor animal’s fate.
“So, is it all right?”
“I guess so. It started breathing. I wrapped it up in a towel to keep it warm, and told my husband to keep an eye on it.”
“You saved its life!” Bobbie gives Dorothy a hug. We resume our leaps and jumps across the pool, and the story makes its way from one mermaid to another. We hear ripples of incredulous laughter up and down the pool.
When I get home that morning, my husband asks, “How was exercise?” If I tell him, will he believe me?